Former Gov. Gary Locke received an honorary doctorate and addressed Western Washington University graduates and their families at one of three spring commencement ceremonies in Carver Gymnasium on June 14.
The other main speakers were scholar Douglas Massey (’74), the Henry G. Bryant Professor of Sociology at Princeton University, and Jerry Thon (’75), vice president of Astoria Holdings.
About 1,935 students were expected to graduate from Western, including 1,775 undergraduate and 160 master’s students.
Locke, the speaker at the 9 a.m. ceremony, recently completed two years as the U.S. ambassador to China. He also served in President Obama’s Cabinet as the secretary of commerce. Born and raised in Seattle, Locke is a two-term governor of the state of Washington and a former member of the Washington House of Representatives. Locke received an honorary doctorate of humane letters from Western for his distinguished career of public service at the state, national and international levels.
Thon, the speaker at the 12:30 p.m. ceremony, is the vice president of Astoria Holdings, a fish processing plant in Astoria, Ore. He’s also the former owner of New West Fisheries in Bellingham and the immediate past president of the Western Foundation. A longtime supporter of Western, Thon is chairman of the Western at Home committee, which works to help Bellingham community leaders get more acquainted with the university.
Massey, the speaker at the 4 p.m. ceremony, is a sociologist specializing in international migration and socioeconomic stratification. At Princeton University, Massey directs the Office of Population Research and oversees the Mexican Migration Project and the Latin American Migration Project, two long-term studies exploring the complex causes and consequences of migration. Massey also received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1990 to write “American Apartheid: Segregation and the Making of the Underclass,” one of his many comprehensive studies of how inequality is produced in the U.S.
In addition to the keynote speaker, a WWU student spoke at each commencement ceremony.
Brian O’Sullivan spoke at the 9 a.m. ceremony. O’Sullivan will graduate with a self-designed concentration from Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies that incorporates his interests in art and psychology. He hopes to study art therapy in graduate school. O’Sullivan is a graduate of Juneau Douglas High School in Juneau, Alaska.
The 12:30 p.m. speaker was Christina Van Wingerden, who graduated with a Master of Education in Continuing and College Education. Van Wingerden is administrator to the dean of students at Western and earned her bachelor’s degree from Western in 2011.
Twins Anne and Andrea d’Aquino spoke at the 4 p.m. ceremony. Anne received a bachelor's degree in biochemistry, while Andrea received a bachelor's degree in chemistry. They have excelled at research, scholarship and community service and are both recipients of a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. They are Bellingham residents and graduates of Squalicum High School.
There were additional commencement-related ceremonies and gatherings during the afternoon. Fairhaven College held an additional graduation celebration at 1 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center Concert Hall. There also was a celebration for Huxley graduates at 2 p.m. in the PAC Mainstage Theatre.